Monday, October 31, 2016

Are Legos Good For Your Brain?


Jarrod Bernier
Are Legos Good For Your Brain?Image result for legos

Legos. They were THE childhood toy. You could build expansive worlds where your imagination could come to life. They were fun for all skill levels. Some people could make a simple house,while others could make working doors and builds with movable parts. I was one of the kids who never really got into Legos. I was the kind who could make a square, but that was the extent of my Lego experience. But were kids who played with Legos smarter? Or are they smarter now? That's what I looked into and this is what I found. Image result for kid playing with lego
You may think that the only reason Legos might make you smarter are because they teach you how to build things. But you'd be mistaken. "In observational studies, kids who spent more free time with puzzles or building blocks scored higher on tests of spatial ability (Jirout and Newcombe 2015; Levine et al 2012)." In this article it explains the idea of spatial recognition through tests that required recreation of a specific shape. They are all done by 3-year-olds and only 40% was able to recreate even a very simple idea. This article also made claims that the act of building with Legos makes you better at math!!!
And not only will it generally help students in school, but Amy Shelton, a cognitive psychologist and director of research at the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, says "These skills not only have a relationship to academics, but to the fields you might gravitate to, and where you're going to excel" (Taken from Hub). Image result for legos kids
Legos and other construction toys can help kids with math and spatial reasoning skills, and even influence what they want to do in life! By my count that means that Legos do make you smarter. But the studies don't end, more and more are run every year. So maybe you don't need to study as hard for math! Just sit back relax and enjoy some Lego time!!!

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

LittleBits of Joy




Ever since the infamous Sea Perch project in eighth grade, I swore to myself that I would never touch a piece of circuitry ever again. The whole process was just extremely strenuous and dull. Cutting PVC pipes, figuring out where each wire went, and don't even get me started on soldering.
   
There were way too many instructions to read, and they were all extremely vague. My partner and I kept messing up so much that I almost set the soldering iron down with the hope that the project would catch on fire. I honestly rather would have taken 5 precalculus tests on the same day, than have to do that project. Having to operate this depressing piece of machinery in front of everyone at the Swasey pool was just icing on the cake. To my dismay, the ROV did not malfunction under water.

Obviously I'm not much of technology person, at least when it involves building things. However, technology still intrigues me, but I needed something that was basic, but still provided me with a learning experience. I crave simplicity, and with the LittleBits, there is no frustration.

Image result for little bits

Thanks to LittleBits, students can be introduced to electronics without any
bare wires, and they can go straight into higher-level electronics without any of the many, many potential points of failure found in building each circuit yourself. Makers can seamlessly incorporate basic components like light sensors and servomotors with more complex elements like Internet access and Arduino programming. All you need is a box of LittleBits' handy, easy to use Bit modules. There are over 60 different modules, such as vibrators, LED lighting, pressure sensors and even more.
Image result for little bits

Photo from http://makezine.com/projects/getting-started-with-littlebits/
You can make your own prank handshake, back massager, or just something that simply lights up.  There's no soldering, programming or wiring required, all you have is simply attach the modules together and watch the magic unfold in front of you. These modules are great for people who are not heavily involved with technology but are still interested in dabbling with it. I enjoyed myself when I was using LittleBits, because I honestly felt like a small child, because long story short, these things are the Legos of circuitry. I definitely recommend these for anyone that is a beginner in the maker/technology world. You can get super creative with them, and it goes way beyond just following the instructions in the binder. You can take that back massager that you were creating and turn into something completely different. The creations that you make, can be made into something even greater.